Extrovert

Bold aesthetics and a six-speed make for an extra fun 718 Boxster.

Photo: Extrovert 1
May 23, 2024

Numbers have defined the performance car hierarchy since the dawn of the automobile. Although they certainly don’t tell the whole story, statistics provide us with a means of contextualizing a vehicle’s capability among its peers, allowing us to keep a tally of what’s the fastest, the quickest, and the grippiest. The numbers bring a semblance of order to an endeavor driven by emotion.

Style, meanwhile, plays a role that’s arguably just as crucial to the desirability of a performance car, yet it’s a metric that is much harder to quantify. Despite being a largely abstract enterprise, it is a constant, and the value of style can be understood whether the subject in question is showcasing its capability or totally inert. Style can set something apart from its peers simply by virtue of its presence, and unlike the fundamentally clinical realm of statistics, its core purpose is simply to make things more interesting.

It’s through this lens that we view the new 718 Boxster Style Edition. As the name implies, the package focuses on what is seen and felt rather than what can be calculated. While it may not have the shock-and-awe factor of a 718 Spyder RS, the treatment provides us with two timely reminders: Porsche hasn’t lost sight of the fundamentals in the pursuit of developing increasingly sophisticated sports cars, and an entry-level Boxster on an open stretch of Angeles Crest Highway can still make a performance enthusiast grin from ear to ear.

Photo: Extrovert 2

Tech Brief

Available for both the Boxster and Cayman, the Style Edition is all about bringing a sense of occasion to the proceedings. In their default configuration, the package’s exterior enhancements include 20-inch 718 Spyder wheels in high-gloss black that are adorned with colored Porsche crests, black exhaust tips, and Porsche badging in high-gloss silver. The 718 Boxster Style Edition also features an embossed “Boxster” script on its convertible top that is situated just above the side windows when the roof is up and remains visible when the top is lowered. Black leather upholstery with contrast stitching, a heated and leather-wrapped multi-function steering wheel, illuminated stainless steel door, sill guards, floor mats with contrast stitching in Chalk, and headrests embossed with the Porsche crest are also included as standard.

Would-be Style Edition buyers can also choose between two contrast packages as part of the deal. Available in either black or white with wheels painted to match, the package includes stripes on the frunk lid and Porsche lettering along the sides of the car, along with a matching high-gloss paint finish for the model designation on the rear bumper.

On the mechanical front, the Style Edition works off of the base 718 template. A six-speed manual gearbox mated to a turbocharged 2.0-liter flat-four Boxer engine making 300 horsepower and 280 pound-feet of torque is the default powertrain combination, a pairing that Porsche conservatively estimates to be good for a 0-60 mph sprint in 4.9 seconds.

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Opting for the available seven-speed PDK automatic and Sport Chrono Package—the latter of which includes a steering wheel-mounted drive mode selector, auto rev-matching for manual-equipped cars in Sport and Sport Plus drive modes, Launch Control, active magnetorheological driveline mounts, and of course the iconic dashboard-mounted chronograph—drops that official time by four-tenths.

Regardless of transmission or roof design, the 718 Style Edition tops out at an admirably rapid 170 mph. The rear-wheel-drive Boxster’s relative simplicity also equates to a commendably svelte sports car. Outfitted with the manual gearbox, it tips the scales at just over 3,000 pounds, while the PDK adds another sixty pounds to the mix.

The 718 Boxster Style Edition benefits from the base model’s array of standard equipment, too, a roster that includes adaptive Bi-Xenon headlights, Sport exhaust, auto-dimming rearview mirrors, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay compatibility, and front and rear parking sensors.

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Our test car features the aforementioned contrast package in white, which, in this particular case, pairs those bright accents with the eye-catching Ruby Star Neo paint. This $2,580 option serves as a modern riff on the Ruby Star hue that was first introduced on the 964-gen 911 RS.

Also on board here are the $3,260 Adaptive Sport Seats Plus Package, which swaps the standard seats for 18-way adjustable thrones with enhanced thigh and shoulder bolsters, a leather interior in Black/Chalk (a $2,460 option that gives the cockpit and the exterior accents more visual continuity), Porsche Torque Vectoring with a mechanically-locking differential, Porsche Active Suspension Management, Porsche Entry & Drive, Lane Change Assist, the Light Design Package, and the Sport Chrono Package.

On the Road

Style has always been an attribute that requires an audience to realize its worth, and our tester made it obvious from the outset that this is not a sports car for those hoping to fly under the radar. Whether we were zipping around town or totally stationary, this Boxster commanded as much attention as any GT-division Porsche we’ve tested; we’d theorize that Ruby Star Neo and white accents do a lot of the heavy lifting in that regard. It’s an attribute that proved particularly handy when we got caught behind slower traffic on the expanses of twisting tarmac draping the Angeles National Forest. It turns out a pink Porsche in your rearview mirror is hard to ignore, so most folks graciously opted to pull over and let us lead the way when they were presented with an opportunity to do so.

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Although it lacks the sharpness and aural drama of flat-six-equipped models like the GTS 4.0, the 718 Boxster Style Edition remains a genuinely compelling performer that’s underpinned by one of the most well-engineered and intuitive sports car chassis ever produced. There’s an overarching theme of accessibility to the performance available thanks to its playful but predictable behavior at the dynamic limits, yet the driving experience never feels watered down or restrictive even when you leave some of the electronic safety nets in place.

They say that communication is the key to a healthy relationship, and the folks who designed the 718 Boxster seem to understand this well. In contrast to modern trends, the steering offers an abundance of information at speed, telegraphing the limits of grip and providing a genuine sense of mechanical connection to the road.

Steer-by-wire may be the way of the future, but we’re in no hurry to ditch rack and pinion systems like these. Stopping power is provided by fixed four-piston aluminum monoblock calipers with vented and cross-drilled discs at all four corners, a setup which delivered a firm, confidence-inspiring pedal regardless of what we threw at it.

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The flat-four has seen its fair share of criticisms since its introduction in 2016, but we wouldn’t consider a lack of character to be a valid one. From the deep whoosh of the intakes at throttle tip-in to the distinctive high-rpm growl that can rightfully trace its lineage to Porsche’s air-cooled past, there’s plenty of unique personality on tap. And in the twilight of the internal combustion era, we’ll take that wherever we can get it.

We’d be remiss if we failed to note the 2.0-liter’s lack of grunt under 3,500 rpm, but once it’s on boost, there’s plenty of urgency to be had. More aggressive gearing would likely go a long way toward addressing this, as the top of third will carry the 718 Boxster Style Edition well into triple-digit territory. When we did see fit to change up or down, we were reminded that the 718 is outfitted with one of the most well-sorted and satisfying manual gearboxes available today, and it’s paired with a nicely weighted clutch that clearly conveys its bite point.

The long gearing also allowed us to focus our attention on extracting all of the available performance through more precisely measured inputs instead of worrying about whether or not we were going to run out of revs before we exited the next corner. This isn’t a momentum car in the traditional sense of the term, yet the 718’s tossable character allows you to drive it like one without ongoing concerns that an unexpected decreasing radius turn or a smattering of gravel on the road will upend your day. The fact that a 718 Boxster has no trouble holding its own in the canyons likely comes as no surprise, though, and this sort of environment ultimately ignores the primary strengths of the Style Edition.

Photo: Extrovert 7

On a particularly balmy afternoon, we decided to get out of the house and go for an open-air drive through northeast Los Angeles with no particular destination in mind. The top operates quickly with minimal rigmarole, encouraging you to drop it whenever the urge strikes, allowing the active exhaust system to take on a more prominent role in the experience while removing another barrier between the driver and the outside world.

It’s a scenario that exemplifies the “lifestyle” aspect of sports cars like this, yet at the same time, it demonstrates the package’s very tangible appeal as a visual statement, mood enhancer, and charisma booster. And unlike some of the more earnestly performance-tuned vehicles available today, this one won’t scold you for spending time on imperfect road surfaces at less-than-ideal speeds, even with PASM and its 10 mm (0.4 in.) lowered ride height on the build sheet. We found the standard damper setting to be comfortable around town and capable of effectively corralling body motions for the majority of the time we spent in the hills. However, we did switch over to the stiffer setting when we wanted to limit suspension compression during a few particularly spirited jaunts.

The Verdict

In an era when things are getting quieter, subtler, and generally more self-conscious, there’s something undeniably refreshing about the 718 Boxster Style Edition. It’s capable without the pretense and severity that often accompanies purposeful sports cars, and it manages to cut a visually striking figure without resorting to garishness to get the job done.

In a world where figures are often used to illustrate worth, style can be easy to dismiss. On paper, style serves no functional purpose. But then again, it’s not the peak horsepower figure that compels us to give a car a second glance as we walk past it in a parking lot.

Also from Issue 310

  • Ruf 993 Carrera RS Turbo
  • Market Update: 1974-1989 911
  • 1959 356A Cabriolet Trip
  • 911 3.0 SC "Safari"
  • Mission E / Taycan Origin
  • New 972 Panamera Drive
Order

Also Available

2023-2024 Porsche Buyer’s Guide
$14.95 (for U.S. residents)
Can be ordered with other back issues using the Printable Order Form. Or can be purchased separately.
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